A legal website has published High Court judge’s full ruling on Elton John’s sexual harassment case with former hairdresser
An interesting situation occurred after a High Court judge’s ruling was published on a legal website. The ruling was on a dispute between Sir Elton John and his former hair stylist. News Group Newspapers, which prints The Sun and The Sun on Sunday, had the intention of writing a story regarding the hairdresser’s claimed unfair dismissal, however the singer did not want his name appearing on the newspapers.
Two judges have confirmed that the newspaper group should not be restricted from revealing his identity after the employment tribunal hearings. The Sun has already reported the outcome of the dispute on Saturday. Now the full ruling of the more senior judge – Mrs Justice Simler – has been published online.
The singer had appealed his name should not be published, against the ruling of a lower-ranked judge, but the appeal had been dismissed by Mrs Justice Simler. This decision was made in May. Sir Elton had the ‘green light’ to appeal to the Court of Appeal, however the order barring him from being identified was still in place until a hearing was scheduled.
A Court of Appeal hearing has not been arranged and Mrs Justice Simler ruled that the employment tribunal proceedings have been against Sir Elton.
News Group Newspapers wanted to publish an article about the proceedings, without restrictions contained in the Privacy Orders, the judge said. Sir Elton appealed as he wished to prevent publication of an article without restrictions.
Back in March, specialist employment judge Simon Auerbach ruled against Sir Elton, however the singer had appealed against the ruling. Mrs Justice Simler had overseen a hearing in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, in London.
As reported by the judge, the hairdresser was dismissed in the middle of 2015. He had claims regarding his unfair dismissal and unlawful sex discrimination by his former employer. In addition, the hair stylist’s claim ‘included allegations of sexual misconduct’.
Sir Elton John had denied any of the claims. A statement from his lawyer Jenny Afia said: ‘These employment proceedings were fully withdrawn by the ex-employee who left the employment of Sir Elton John’s company in June 2015.”
‘The claims were always strongly denied and we continue to deny them.
‘Sir Elton John is pleased that the former employee withdrew the claims in full and that the issue was settled in February this year.’
Mrs Justice Simler confirmed that Sir Elton and his hair stylist had reached ‘a confidential settlement’ of the claim for unfair dismissal and unlawful sex discrimination. News Group Newspapers, however has argued that this information should be available for the public and wanted to publish a story regarding the case and settlement, mentioning Sir Elton in it.
A hearing held in March ruled out a decision against the singer after arguments heard from the lawyers representing News Group Newspapers.
Mrs Justice Simler commented that Judge Auerbach took the according actions and made ‘no error of law or principle’. She continued that Judge Auerbach had been ‘entitled to have regard to the principle of open justice’ and the right to free expression.
The claims by the singer that Judge Auerbach had ‘failed to have regard’ for Sir Elton’s human right to respect for privacy and family life, were denied by Mrs Simler. She commented that ‘no presumption in favour’ of not reporting settlements.
‘There is no presumption in favour of non-reporting of settlements or settled proceedings, nor should there be’ added Mrs Justice Simler.
‘While there is a public interest in settlement of litigation which is to be encouraged, it does not outweigh the fundamental principle of open justice.’
She added: ‘In the circumstances of this case, (Judge Auerbach) was entitled to find that, weighed in the balance against other factors, the existence of such legitimate expectations as (Sir Elton) had was not sufficient to justify a permanent restriction on reporting in this case.’